A self-proclaimed sticky note fanatic, Andrew Gonzales describes his home office as an organized mess. As a small business owner and a full-time student, those colorful pieces of paper are home to reminders, to-do lists, hopes, and dreams.

While many would fold under the pressure of launching a business while going to school, Andrew takes it all in stride. His ability to adapt, desire to learn, and positive outlook are a few of the many traits that have helped his accounting and bookkeeping firm, A.B.C. Services, continue to thrive during a once-per-generation economic crisis.

As small businesses across the world were forced to shut their doors in record numbers, Andrew chose to approach what most would see as obstacles as opportunities, instead. Find out what he's learned and what advice he'd share with budding entrepreneurs and fellow small business owners.

How technology can enable work-life balance.

Thanks to 24/7 connectivity, many might argue that work-life balance has never been harder to achieve than it is now. As Andrew Gonzales has learned, with the right technology, it's actually easier than ever.

He began researching communications platforms for his business with the hopes of finding a tool that would help him connect with his clients while also differentiating between work calls and personal calls.

"I knew that I needed video chat, and I knew that I needed to distinguish a business call from a personal call."

Enter: the 8x8 work app.

"When I did my research, I learned that 8x8 allowed me to get everything set up in a matter of minutes, and I was literally up and running within ten minutes."

What's his favorite feature? As you may have guessed, it's the ability to distinguish between types of calls, all on one phone. A close second? Andrew also says he loves being able to host video calls, as it allows him to connect with his clients on a more personal level. In his line of work, connections are critical.

Building trust from a distance

Few things are more personal than finances. Growing an accounting business requires expertise, but it also requires trust. And trust comes through relationships, which is why Andrew spent many days on the road before the pandemic, meeting face to face with customers and prospects.

"To be idle, it was a big transition. But I found that it allowed me to add other things to my plate, such as enrolling in school to complete my degree."

And having reliable video meeting software has helped him bridge the gap. While he can't meet face to face with customers anymore, he can still build relationships.

"As I've been open for a few months now, I really love the video call feature. It really allows me to connect with my clients."

Advice for small business owners: don't be afraid of change.

What can other small business owners learn from Andrew? His biggest piece of advice: don't be afraid of change.

"Things happen. The world is constantly changing. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn new marketing techniques. Utilize the technology that we have accessible to us today, and don't be afraid of it. Continue to push forward, and you'll see the light at the end of the tunnel."

Want to learn more from other small business leaders like Andrew and how 8x8 can partner with your small business to embrace and thrive in an ever-changing economy? Follow our Essentials eBook series "Ready for Business: Connect and Grow Through Digital Communications" starting with Chapter 1, which is available now.

Original thinkers like Andrew inspire us to push forward, and we're proud to be a part of his journey. Please stay tuned for more profiles of 8x8 Original Thinkers in the coming weeks.